With more than 400 million active users spending at least 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook, it’s easy to believe that consumers are increasingly turning to social networks before search engines. Recent data from HitWise shows that social sites get more visits than search engines in the UK, and there is evidence to suggest American consumers may soon rely more heavily on Facebook, as well.

S-Net (The Impact of Social Media), ROI Research’s Performics-sponsored survey of 3,000 U.S. consumers, shows that 37 percent of social media users learn about new products and services through social media. Facebook, in particular, stood out as a brand-boosting gem with 50 percent of Facebook users claiming they click on advertisements when they “like” a brand.

“Users are not only satisfied, they want more, which is a good sign for marketers,” Scott Haiges, president of ROI Research, told Performics. Indeed, the study shows that 35 percent of respondents look for information about new products and services via Facebook, and nearly half of users want sale notifications and printable coupons on the site.

Moreover, 90 percent of Facebook users believe at least some of the brands they “like” on Facebook are doing a good job of providing relevant content. It’s important to remember that quality content can easily translate into organic Facebook referral marketing campaigns.

The recently updated Facebook analytics tool can help marketers understand how users are engaging with a company’s Facebook presence. A new Insights Dashboard offers analytics on specific posts fans have “liked,” as well as user comments.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.